Urgent works are needed to save an iconic town church which has been declared as dangerous.

Christ Church in Maryport, also known as the sailors’ church, is falling into disrepair, some of it the result of vandalism.

And Allerdale Council said broken windows and other damage had rendered the building dangerous.

Local historian and art lover Dolly Daniel said it was crucial that the church – famously painted by artists including LS Lowry – was saved.

Mrs Daniel said Christ Church was a Maryport landmark into which the history of the town was woven.

“It has been painted several times by several legendary artists including Percy Kelly, Sheila Fell and LS Lowry," she said. "The town is deeply committed to this iconic landmark."

The church was also recently named as a key part in an ambitious multi-million pound regeneration plan for the town.

Allerdale Council said it was planning to take action against the owner under Section 77 of the building act.

This would force the owner, believed to be a London businessman, to carry out this urgent work to make the building safe.

Under the act, the council would have the power to carry out the work itself and charge the owner if he fails to make the building safe.

A council spokesman said: “Christ Church is really important for Maryport’s continuing regeneration and this landmark building very much remains in the council’s plans. We feel it has significant potential for a new use.

“The council’s regeneration team, working alongside architects Buttress, is continuing to work on a bid to the Future High Streets Fund which will be submitted by July 31.”

The church clock has its own piece of history. It was donated to the town by Thomas Henry Ismay, owner of the White Star Line which built the Titanic.

Ismay was born in Maryport and never forgot his roots. He maintained the clock and made charitable donations to the town throughout his life.

Christ Church has also seen sailors off to sea and the place to mourn for those who did not return, but it closed in 2013 due to a dwindling congregation and rising costs.